The Broadcast / Noah Lane | Surfing In The Azores

Noah Lane | Surfing In The Azores


4 min read

Written by Noah Lane

Image by James Bowden

The Land That Time Forgot

Lashing rain fell horizontally in huge sheets from the heavens above. We’d been holed up all day, hopefully poking our heads out of the window every time the roar eased, only to be chased back inside by the next front hurtling along the ridge-line at our backs.

The last few years of Northern Hemisphere winters has accustomed me to inclement weather; but there is nothing quite like a tropical storm. I was reminded of the volatile weather systems of my youth; weeks worth of rain dumped in barely a few hours. The not-so-glamourous side of a spring surf mission.

A week prior our team had floated in on the wings of a Portuguese airline tickling the stratosphere. Hours of nothing but blue below, and then suddenly a few small dots in the distance.

“We’re all just tiny specks swimming inside a giant’s eye.” I was jolted back to reality as the specks grew below us and features became definable. Rolling hills divided by stone walls created a patchwork of green reminding me of Ireland. It’s funny how no matter where in the world, and no matter how stark the contrast, I find similarities to a place like home.

After a welcoming start of balmy weather and sunshine, we’d hopped islands and settled at a beautiful and isolated north facing outcrop to explore and test the new range. We were an hour long hike, or a 20 minute 4x4 ride if you happened to have one, from the nearest paved road. We settled with no internet, phone signal and a temperamental generator for electricity in the evenings.

The Kit They Took

The weather turned sour as the rest of the team departed, leaving James and I to contemplate our options.

We spent the better part of three days peering from windows with the same playlist on repeat, reading material dwindling, cabin fever starting to take its toll. But on our last day dawn broke with clear skies and light winds.

We met the morning glow and new swell as the sun rose, following the ridgeline into the sky.

The fragmented lineups that we’d watched in the previous wind swell were transformed into powerful points. It was like seeing the place for the first time all over again, bathed in light and a view that will remain locked in my memory for some time to come.

Part of me would love to shout about this place to anyone that will listen. It really is a paradise untouched by the trivialities of the modern world.

But then that wouldn’t be sporting. Part of what makes it so special is its isolation, solitude and beauty; all of which would be ruined should the hordes arrive.

Maybe it’s these very reasons that have allowed it to stay this way so long and will help keep it unchanged; I definitely hope so.  

With a little research and a little time, you may find yourself wandering into this land that time forgot. I hope it treats you as well as it did us.


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